Hanon & Czerny: yes or not

Posted by: Jose Hidalgo

Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/09/10 11:42 AM

Hi there,

Are these books/exercises good or bad ?

My guess is too much of anything is bad, but for me these exercises may help as warm routine and to get finger strength at least.

Please explain your opinions.
Posted by: EJR

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/09/10 01:58 PM

I personally don't like either Hanon or Czerny. For some reason they remind me of all that was bad in childhood piano lessons. But I do think exercises are important for technical improvment. To warm up I do Richard Meyrick's finger exercises (15 minutes). But the best exercises are scales and arpeggios. I'm currently going around the circle of fifths doing 4 majors and their relative minors a day. I've been on this diet for several months now. Cooke's 'Mastering scales and arpeggios' is excellent and a free PDF download.
Posted by: T'sMom

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/09/10 02:00 PM

I went back and forth on this for a while. My final decision:
Hanon NO (life is too short for this)
Czerny YES (good for warming up and I just like the sound of it better)
Posted by: EJR

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/10/10 05:25 AM

Originally Posted By: T'sMom
I went back and forth on this for a while. My final decision:
Hanon NO (life is too short for this)
Czerny YES (good for warming up and I just like the sound of it better)


I preferred Czerny to Hanon and I'll admit to having a copy of Czerny's Op 261 (101 exercises). This was purchased when I returned to playing and was the book I remembered from childhood lessons (which had fallen apart and rotted in the intervening years). I did start work on them a couple of years ago, but gave up on No 3 (I'd done most of them before).
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/10/10 07:20 AM

Hanon is great for strengthening the weak 4th and 5th fingers
Posted by: moscheles001

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/10/10 07:53 AM

When I practice Hanon, I repeat parts that work my third, fourth, and fifth fingers. So if a particular exercise works those fingers in ascending, I'll repeat the ascending part.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/10/10 10:46 AM

I can't speak on Hanon, but I really enjoy Czerny. The exercises are very musical and I find them very pleasant to play. I have also really enjoyed seeing for myself that the patterns taught in the exercises are found all over the place in "real" pieces I'm playing.

My teacher has just recommended I move on to Burgmuller
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Progressive-Stud...2953&sr=8-1

She said that some of it will be a bit above my current level but that it will be a good set of pieces to look at - they are even more "musical" than the Czerny in her opinion.
I will let you know!
Posted by: thumper49

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/11/10 12:59 AM

I enjoy playing both, and find they improve my technique in different ways. As others have pointed out, the Czerny is definitely more tuneful. I have fallen asleep at the piano while grinding Hanon. My teacher hasn't mentioned Bergmuller -- she's a Cortot fan, definitely not melodic! -- but I will definitely check him out. Thanks, casinitaly.
Posted by: kdi

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/11/10 08:49 AM

Been playing for five years and have worked thru and could play Hanon 1-20 during the first four years. Probably could still do 1 & 2 from memory. Don't play Hanon at all now. My current teacher believes the practice routine should be scales, inversions, broken inversions, and arpeggios as they are more helpful for what he calls "commercial playing". After three months and many hours I can play them in all twelve major keys. The improvement in my playing is noticeable. Fills, runs, and chords are much easier and fingerings seem to be there when I need them. And improvising is starting to happen. smile smile It was time well spent in my opinion.

btw, an added benefit for me in regard to chords - since I learned scales and inversions and applied the definitions for major, minor, augmented, diminished, suspended, 7th, major 7th, etc. chords are no longer the stuff of misery and pain.
Posted by: Stevester

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/11/10 09:28 AM

I agree with kdi and this is my current teachers philosophy. During our last lesson it was decided i would start matching the majors with the minors as it should make things easier. I was spending too much time learning C minor but if I play C major right before it it C minor comes easier. I know the previous might appear to be a rambling to many but maybe it will help a few.

Hanon and Czerny. I worked on both when I was working on my own. I think Hanon helped establish some sense of timing and certainly strengthened my hand (i used a metronome). I like Czerny and I am sure it is of value but why not work on something more musical at least that is how I started to feel and I let it go. There are only so many hours in my piano day.
Posted by: moscheles001

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/12/10 09:53 AM

From Wikipedia:

"Both Sergei Rachmaninoff and Josef Lhévinne claimed Hanon to be the secret of why the Russian piano school delivered an explosion of virtuosi in their time, for the Hanon exercises have been obliged for a long time throughout Russian conservatories; there were special examinations in which one had to know all exercises by heart to be played in all tonalities in highly advanced speed."

I don't know if this is true. I do play Hanon in keys other than C, and it does seem to have a positive effect. I have not yet reached "highly advanced speeds," however.

I've also played Hanon in dotted rhythms, although found this too difficult at faster tempos.

I've read here on PW that William Kapell included Hanon as part of his daily practice.
Posted by: moscheles001

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/12/10 01:04 PM

A little Googling has revealed that Kapell wrote an essay for The Etude magazine in the 1950s about acquiring piano technique, in which he advocated Hanon.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/12/10 01:14 PM

I picked up my Burgmuller today....... These are much more "pieces" than exercises to my eye. Should be fun!
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/12/10 06:35 PM

Hanons can be easily manipulated. Examples include:
- playing in 4/4 rather than 2/4
- playing through cycle of 4ths e.g. C maj, F maj, Bb maj
- playing with a jazz swing (this is what we do in the Joy of Improvisation course, btw the JOI course patterns have been altered from the original Hanons)
Posted by: LimeFriday

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/12/10 07:23 PM

I use Hanon for warming up - along with scales, arpeggios and so on. I actually enjoy the repetition of Hanon... it's great for practising in different rhythms, changing dynamics (increasing and decreasing), for improving smoothness and evenness in tone.

It can be very meditative - good for easing tension before moving on to pieces in a practice session.
Posted by: Emeritus

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/12/10 07:28 PM

I am surprised that no one has yet mentioned the variations on the Hanon exercises that were developed by Orville A. Lindquist--"Technical Variants on Hanon's Exercises for Pianoforte". Each exercise is presented in a multitude of rhythms, with variants devoted to the weaker fingers, and exercises to minimize hand and wrist tension. In addition, he recommends playing each exercise in several keys. Lindquist's book was in common use several decades ago. Amazon now lists it available only as used. For those devoted to Hanon, I highly recommend Lindquist's variations.
Posted by: al-mahed

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/12/10 08:29 PM

http://www.amazon.com/Daily-Technical-Studies-Piano-Kalmus/dp/076926414X
Posted by: ll

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/12/10 08:55 PM

That's the only way to do Hanon.

In other keys, and in rhythms. I like doing them just to warm-up and there is no doubt that they help people's technique. How much, who knows, but they do help - we also shouldnt' quote the virtuosos because what worked for them won't necessarily work for all of us.

I'm not a fan of Czerny. I'd rather find other pieces to gain the same skills from. But that's just preference. In the end, they're all just pieces. Some just sound better than others. Same goes for Burg. They're etudes, not finger exercises. You can't group Hanon in with Czerny.

Lately, I've been reading the Bach Cello Suites (in tenor clef! good for SATB reading practice!). Same idea in mind. I get a nice finger workout and also get to enjoy what I play.
Posted by: olavi

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/13/10 05:08 AM

It seems there's not enough scientific evidence to say yes or no confidently. The introduction of Kochevitsky's Art of Piano Playing contains a great overview of various schools of piano teaching. For a more recent article, see Brenda Wristen's Technical Exercises: Use Them or Lose Them?

I think both authors discouraged exercises where you press down the other fingers while moving 4 or 5. Wristen also had a good point about avoiding sudden increases in practice time.

I do appreciate the practical, even addictive aspect of Czerny and Hanon, but I don't want to risk injury. Are there similar exercises that would rather strain the central nervous system than tendons?
Posted by: moscheles001

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/13/10 08:28 AM

Pianosociety.com has a recording of "The Hanon Rag":

http://pianosociety.com/cms/index.php?section=2719
Posted by: moscheles001

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/13/10 08:36 AM

I use the Schmitt exercises that involve holding notes while playing others, and they help. I think the secret is to avoid tension, use only arm weight, and not to overdo it.
Posted by: joyoussong

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/13/10 09:40 AM

You can buy the score for Hanon Rag, too. I bought it online - he takes PayPal - & got a hard copy in the mail about 4 days later. I think it cost $4, including postage, mailed to Canada. Unfortunately, it's way too difficult for me to play right now, but maybe someday.
Posted by: moscheles001

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/13/10 09:52 AM

I laugh out loud every time I listen to it.
Posted by: Jose Hidalgo

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/13/10 10:25 AM

So to summarize, this is what I get from the posts by now:

1) Czerny is more melodic than Hanon(considered boring for many people)
2) Hanon should be practice with different keys and rhythms
3) Neither one is dangerous on it's own, it is more on how you practice them (don't practice them too much)
4) Hanon is particularly good for strengthening (4th and 5th fingers)
5) There are other books/variations you may want to check

Personally I will try to go over them smile
Thanks
Posted by: ll

Re: Hanon & Czerny: yes or not - 07/13/10 05:32 PM

You do Hanon until mastery (of skill, not speed), then move on, just like scales. Then you practice them all the time.

Czerny/other books are pieces that you are supposed to learn and then move on.

Again, don't group them together. They're nothing alike.